Friday, May 14, 2010

Robert A. Heinlein

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As a boy, he attended the same grammar school as Sally Rand.  He read under the covers with a candle. When he decided to get into Annapolis, he flooded his congressman with fifty letters of recommendation.  During WWII, he recruited Isaac Asimov to work at the Philadelphia Navy Yard by getting him drunk on a Cuba Libre and showing him slides of Catherine Crook de Camp naked.

I've been reading a biography of the man that Jack McKnight used to call "crazy Bob" -- Robert A. Heinlein.  The authorized biographer, William H. Patterson, Jr. is an unabashed partisan who honestly believes that we all remember where we were when we learned that Heinlein was dead.  His prose, alas, is merely serviceable.  But he had access to every scrap of paper RAH accumulated in his lifetime, and so he was able to compile a more detailed look at the man who reshaped modern science fiction than has ever been available before.

It'll be out sometime this year, I'm guessing, and for those of you who might be interested in a Heinlein biography, I recommend it.  It's a fascinating glimpse into how RAH created himself and his fiction.

This is volume 1 -- there'll be a second volume somewhere down the road -- and I devoutly hope that the published book includes an index.

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2 comments:

Victoria Janssen said...

I will totally read this.

Michael said...

My copy of the galley in the table of contents lists an index - which isn't there. Which is the wise thing, since there might be some changes to the text between whenever the galley was produced and when it goes to the printer, changes that could alter the index.

Many years ago here at the JHU Press, one of our health books had, after the index was done, changes to the text that were not communicated to the indexer.

Ended up destroying 5000 copies of the book and reprinting it.

Not exactly cheap thrills, no?